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Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un make history with handshake summit in singapore

Storyline:National News

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have opened their historic nuclear talks with a handshake as the leaders met for the first time in Singapore.

The highly anticipated summit is aimed at defusing tensions on the Korean peninsula and marks the first time a sitting US president has met a North Korean leader.

Mr Trump and Kim were pictured meeting and shaking hands ahead of the talks that the US leader said represent a “one-time shot” at peace.

The summit is being held at a hotel on Sentosa, a popular tourist island a few hundred metres off the Singapore mainland, at 9am local time (2am UK time) on Tuesday.

Trump said after meeting Kim that he is feeling “really great”, adding: “We’re going to have a great discussion and a terrific relationship.”

Kim said through an interpreter that it “was not easy to get here” and that there “were obstacles but we overcame them to be here

The first 45 minutes of this historic meeting will be just Kim, Mr Trump and their translators. Mr Trump earlier said he would know within the first minute whether it is going to be a success.

Ahead of the summit, Mr Trump tweeted with cautious optimism: “Meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly … but in the end, that doesn’t matter.

“We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!”

The leaders are scheduled to hold a larger meeting and working lunch after their initial talks this morning.

Mr Trump’s chief of staff, national security adviser and secretary of state are among those expected to join.

The US President earlier defended his decision to meet with Kim, tweeting that North Korea has already released three detainees and that missile tests have halted.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo injected a note of caution whether Kim would prove to be sincere about his willingness to denuclearise.

Officials of the two sides held last-minute talks to lay the groundwork for the summit of the old foes.

The event was almost unthinkable just months ago, when the leaders were exchanging insults and threats that raised fears of war.

The combatants of the 1950-53 Korean War are technically still at war, as the conflict, in which millions of people died, was concluded only with a truce.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Pompeo fed the mounting anticipation of diplomatic breakthrough: “We’re ready for today.”

He told reporters the event should set the framework for “the hard work that will follow”, insisting that North Korea had to move toward complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.

North Korea, however, has shown little appetite for surrendering nuclear weapons it considers vital to the survival of Kim’s dynastic rule.

Sanctions on North Korea would remain in place until that happened, Mr Pompeo said. “If diplomacy does not move in the right direction those measures will increase.”

He added: “North Korea has previously confirmed to us its willingness to denuclearise and we are eager to see if those words prove sincere.”

The White House said later that discussions with North Korea had moved “more quickly than expected.

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